Clostridium bacteria, C. diff, illustration

Sporting an all-star team of scientific founders that includes Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, Joe DeRisi, PhD, Michael Wilson, MD, Pardis Sabeti, MD, DPhil, and Matthew Meyerson, MD, PhD, Delve Bio announced its launch via a $35 million Series A financing that will help commercialize its metagenomic sequencing platform for infectious disease diagnosis. Dubbed mNGS (metagenomics next-generation sequencing), Delve’s infection disease test promises to speed the identification of infectious pathogens, to improve treatment and reduce hospital stays.

The financing round was led by Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund II (PXV Fund II), which was joined by Section 32 and GV.

“While genomic testing has been transformative for oncology, rare disease and women’s health, infectious disease has been largely overlooked,” said Brad Murray, co-founder and CEO of Delve in a press release. “We formed Delve Bio with the vision of bringing infectious disease diagnostics into the genomics era, enabling patients with complex—and often life threatening—infections, which cannot be routinely diagnosed, to get a definitive diagnosis.”

According to the company, its metagenomic platform will break the mold of current infectious pathogen testing that often relies on a small subset of known pathogens which can hamper diagnoses, prolonging hospital stays and, in some cases, result in inappropriate treatments.

The Delve mNGS test, however, analyzes all of the RNA and DNA in a single sample leveraging NGS in a hypothesis-free manner. These data are then analyzed using the company’s proprietary bioinformatics pipeline capable of rapidly analyzing millions of sequences to identify the presence of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic species.

According to co-founder DeRisi, who is a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and co-president of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, “We firmly believe that mNGS delivers the most conclusive, unbiased and actionable diagnosis of infectious disease. Delve brings infectious disease diagnostics and the latest innovations in metagenomics together to deliver on the promise to dramatically improve the precision and range of infectious disease diagnosis, discovery, and management—including the integration of host response, antimicrobial resistance detection, and more.”

Delve was first developed internally at UCSF through its development arm, the Innovation Ventures company start-up services that are part of its Office of Technology Management and Advancement (OTMA). OTMA organizes licensing, startup, and business development efforts for the university and in this case provided Delve with an exclusive in-license for the development and commercialization of the mNGS platform and its clinically validated cerebrospinal fluid test. It’s founders hail from some of the country’s leading research centers including UCSF (DeRisi, Wilson, and Chiu), Harvard University and The Broad Institute (Sabeti), and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and The Broad (Meyerson).

“The academic caliber of Delve Bio’s founders, coupled with the management team’s track record of success, makes me confident about the company’s future,” said Chris Garabedian, portfolio manager, PXV Fund II. Delve’s leadership team is further complemented by its board of directors, which includes former Foundation Medicine chairman and CEO Michael Pellini and the neuroinflammatory disease expertise of Michael Wilson, director of the UCSF Center for Encephalitis and Meningitis.

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